Chris Boardman will today deliver a petition to the government that has been signed by more than 27,000 people urging the Department for Transport (DfT) to change the Highway Code to make the country’s roads safer for people on bikes or on foot.
Research from the Near Miss Project led by Dr Rachel Aldred of the University of Westminster has found that the typical cyclist experiences 25 near misses at junctions each year – with six of those, on average, described as “very scary.”
The petition was launched by British Cycling and the organisation, together with the former world and Olympic champion Boardman who is now its policy adviser, believe that simplifying rules regarding turning at junctions would improve safety for vulnerable road users.
Specifically, the petition, also backed by motoring organisation the AA, calls on the DfT to require road users to give way when turning, as happens in a number of other countries including Denmark and the Netherlands.
Boardman said: “We know that the place where walkers - particularly the elderly and parents with children - and those on bikes often feel most vulnerable is when they are crossing junctions.
“Instead of the 14 conflicting rules in an outdated Highway Code, let’s borrow the common sense approach used in other European countries to create one simple rule that will make junctions much safer for everyone.”
Nine years have passed since the Highway Code was last revised, and British Cycling has created an interactive tool on its website to enable people to contact their MP to ask them to urge minister for transport Andrew Jones to make the necessary changes.
“This wouldn’t cost the government money and could be implemented very easily with political will. The cost of doing nothing is far greater,” Boardman continued
“As Westminster’s Near Miss project has shown, incidents at junctions are putting people off cycling for good.
“At a time when obesity and air pollution are at epidemic levels, surely this is the last thing that we want to see happen,” he added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.